Addiction Research Feed

Children of Alcoholics Likely to become Obese!

Washington (SmartAboutHealth) – According to a new study, children of alcoholics are more likely to face and suffer from obesity than kids who are not born into a family with a history of alcoholism.

The study was carried out by researchers from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and focused on seeing if there was a link between having a family history of alcohol abuse or alcoholism, and obesity.

Researchers analyzed data that came from two different surveys that involves alcoholism.

The surveys were conducted through the 1990s as well as through the 2000s and involved over 75,000 people in total.

Researchers found that those who had a family history of alcoholism were far more likely to be obese than those who did not.

The belief is that this is due to the fact that the addiction may be passed odwn in the family.

The only difference is that the new entrants into these families are becoming addicted to junk food more than they are addicted to alcohol.

As the years went by in the study, they found that the more recent adults with a family history of alcoholism were more likely to suffer from obesity than those from the early 1990s.

The family history of alcoholism and obesity are more directly linked now because the food that is available today has more calories and more fat than the food some years ago.

Still, the addictive nature between these foods and the brain is similar to the addiction that is seen from alcohol.

The study has been published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Texas Drug Rehabs New Therapy (Equine Therapy)

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Texas Drug Rehabs are starting to offer a newer type of therapy. This new type of therapy is called Equine Therapy. It has been used as a alternative form to psychotherapy for many years. Some addiction treatment programs in Texas are implementing this newer thearpy into their programs.

This alternative approach is being used to help in the healing process. With many Texas Drug and Alcohol rehabs embracing this form of therapy, we are seeing many techniques and models of this type of therapy surface. Some programs use elements of different styles and models of care around the Equine Therapy. For more information regarding this type of therapy please visit this article below.

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The Effects Of Spirituality In Alcoholics Anonymous On Alcohol Dependence

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New research shows that attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings may increase spirituality and help decrease frequency and intensity of alcohol use

  • Alcoholics Anonymous is a widely known 12-step program that can help individuals control their dependence on alcohol, and spirituality is a large part
  • A new study shows that spirituality does increase over time, which can lead to better alcohol outcomes and an improved rate of recovery
  • These results indicate that spirituality is an important factor in the multi-faceted recovery from an alcohol-use disorder

Addictions, whether it is to drugs or alcohol, are a very difficult hurdle for individuals to overcome. But, there are ways to help people with their recovery through 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Many of these organizations, including AA, highlight spirituality as a very important factor, but the data surrounding its effectiveness have often been contested. 

However, new research shows that as attendance of AA meetings increase, so do the participants spiritual beliefs, especially in those individuals who had low spirituality at the beginning of the study. 

The results will be published in the March 2011 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View. 

John F. Kelly, lead author of the study, Associate Professor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the Associate Director of the Center for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, said that while spirituality is an important aspect of AA recovery, it is not the only way they can help individuals. 

"I've heard it said that AA is too spiritual, and I've also heard it said that AA is not spiritual enough for some people. Although this is not the only way that AA helps individuals recover, I think these findings support the notion that AA works in part by enhancing spiritual practices," Kelly said. 

The researchers assessed more than 1,500 adults throughout their recovery process, with data being gathered at three, six, nine, 12, and 15 months. The study utilized data on their attendance to AA meetings, their individual spirituality/religiosity practices and overall alcohol-use outcomes to determine if spirituality is indeed a mechanism of behavior change. 

The results indicated that there was a robust association between an increase in attendance to AA meetings with increased spirituality and a decrease in the frequency and intensity of alcohol use over time. One of the most interesting aspects of the research was that the same amount of recovery was seen in both agnostics and atheists, which indicates that while spirituality is an important mechanism of behavioral change for AA, it is not the only method used. 

"Many people will be surprised that alcoholic patients with little or no interest in spirituality attended AA and seemed to change even more than did those who had a pre-existing, strong sense of spirituality," said Keith Humphreys, a Career Research Scientist with the Veterans Health Administration and Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University. "AA is thus much more broad in its appeal than is commonly recognized." 

The researchers also noted that while spirituality is an important aspect of recovery, it is still not known how these beliefs work in complement or competition with other recovery methods, as there are multiple. 

"We have also found that AA participation leads to recovery by helping members change their social network and by enhancing individuals' recovery coping skills, motivation for continued abstinence, and by reducing depression and increasing psychological well-being," said Kelly. 

"Down the road it will be important to conduct more qualitative research as well as further quantitative replication of our findings in order to understand more about how exactly spiritual practices and beliefs influence coping and behavioral change in recovery from addiction

Source: 
John F. Kelly, Ph.D.
Center for Addiction Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital 
Keith Humphreys, Ph.D. 
Stanford University 
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research

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Alcoholics May Stop at One Drink With Lundbeck Pill but what about the second drink,third and so on?

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Alcoholics may stop one drink with new pill. What about the second drink? In Europe a new medication is being used to help the fight of alcoholism. For many years the search for a pharmacological treatment answer in the fight against alcoholism has been sought. The drug, nalmefene from H. Lundbeck A/S in Valby, Denmark, blocks brain signals that make activities such as sex and drinking feel good. Should trials succeed, the medicine may win clearance in Europe as early as 2012, becoming the first new alcoholism treatment approved there in more than 15 years.
Most of the current medications are geared to fighting relapse once a person stops using alcohol. The focus of the new drug promises an attack of the problem from a different angle. The individual continues to drink while using this medication. Currently the method of abstinent is required for most people to become free from alcohol.
This new method of treatment raises many questions on it's effectiveness to stop alcoholism. The addiction treatment communities are champions for new tools, medications, tecniques and approaches to the treatment of alcoholism. However, much concern exist when you hear of the magic pill cure to fight alcoholism. It does not take long for the addiction professionals and the treatment and recovery community to get cynical about the idea of giving a pill and continued drinking.  
New ideas are always evaluated and researched in the addiction treatment industry. So while we watch this new approach to medication and alcoholics develop I hope more people will focus on the education of alcoholism.  


By Scott Kelley LCDC
More information on article found at business week.
via www.businessweek.com


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How to pick a good addiction facility for a loved one?

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Addiction treatment programs are vast across the internet. When searching for a good addiction treatment program sometimes consumers can get overwhelmed. Sober Sky has great pointers to help you in picking out the best addiction treatment programs.

 

  • Pick a program that has an experienced staff treating your loved one. It is important to find out how long the staff has been treating addictions. The longer a program has been in business treating addictions is always a good start.
  • Will the program that you send your loved one be exposed to 12- step approaches? Pick a program that introduces and individual to the 12- step programs. More people get sober and stay sober because of the 12-steps. All other promises or modalities are simply not proven and you should be cautious of any other claims.
  • The staff is the most important aspect of any good treatment program. In other words the people that treat your loved one need to know what they are doing. Once again experience is the best indicator of a great addiction treatment program.
  • Medical detox and counselors on staff are very important. A program that does not have licensed staff needs to be scrutinized. Some programs do exist that do not have licensed staff, but they are usually recovery centers and will not be using counseling. I recommend facilities of this nature under the section recovery centers. They are a totally different type of program. They are not treatment programs. Please go to section on recovery centers for more information on this type of program.

 

This is a short pointer list but can help you in picking a great treatment program. If you need assistance in finding a great program feel free to e-mail me at texasscottkelley@aol.com I am always available to help you in finding a good program.

 

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Arizona voters approve medical marijuana measure - CNN.com

Medical Marijuana Approved in Arizona for medical purposes. Sober Sky is interested in following the research and the progress of how this change will effect the citizens of Arizona. If it is used with strict regulation, I personally see no problem with this change, if the benefits out weigh the other medical procedures. I will have to say "I have some doubts", but it is to early to tell if this is a positive thing or a negative event. I have always seen myself as a forward thinking individual. I hope that as a result of the law change that the doctors are actually required to follow the prescriptions that they prescribe for Marijuana and report into some type of research database. I hope that those that are prescribed the use of Marijuana are also held to strict guidelines not to allow others to have prescribed Marijuana. Lot's of questions, but I will have to wait for the data, as it becomes available. Please visit the CNN article for more details on this development.

 

Arizona voters approve medical marijuana measure

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Addiction the Word

Some terms that are commonly used in discussing drugs and drug use are difficult to define with precision, partly because they are so widely used for many different purposes. I want to caution people when learning about different addiction related terms. Many different meanings from many different sources use the word addiction to imply explanations of their points of view.  The term Addiction is a controversial and complex term. Another complicating reality is that everyday usage of the word addiction seems to gravitate away from scientific meanings of the word. The history of the word has meant different things throughout the last 200 years.

Who uses the term addiction anyway? The scholars or academic historians have their own opinions and view points to what addiction means. Very interesting points of views have been discussed in the circles of education. The individual addict and the families of the addict all have their own experience with what addiction means to them. Counselors and physicians, nurses, outreach workers, and case managers have their point of views. Then you have judges,lawyers,police officers, probation officers,clergy,child welfare and child protection workers, public health workers, teachers,school counselors, and youth workers who sometimes have their own way of relating the term addiction to what they see in their professions. With so many different views of what the word means it can lead  you in so many different directions when seeking help for someone that has an addiction. No wonder confusion exist for the addiction treatment consumer looking for a great drug or alcohol addiction facility. You are not alone. I hope i can help you find the right facility. Please enjoy the site and feel free to call or e-mail me or better yet post a comment. 

Scott Kelley LCDC

 

 

 

 

 


Alcohol more harmful than heroin or crack

Alcohol more harmful than heroin or crack'

Sacked government drugs adviser David Nutt publishes investigation in Lancet reopening debate on classification

 

Teenagers drinking alcohol

Heroin causes harm to users, but alcohol causes considerably more harm in the wider community, study finds. Photograph: Action Press/Rex Features.

 

Alcohol is the most dangerous drug in the UK by a considerable margin, beating heroin and crack cocaine into second and third place, according to an authoritative study published today which will reopen calls for the drugs classification system to be scrapped and a concerted campaign launched against drink.

Led by the sacked government drugs adviser David Nutt with colleagues from the breakaway Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, the study says that if drugs were classified on the basis of the harm they do, alcohol would be class A, alongside heroin and crack cocaine.

Today's paper, published by the respected Lancet medical journal, will be seen as a challenge to the government to take on the fraught issue of the relative harms of legal and illegal drugs, which proved politically damaging to Labour.

Nutt was sacked last year by the home secretary at the time, Alan Johnson, for challenging ministers refusal to take the advice of the official Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, which he chaired. The committee wanted cannabis to remain a class C drug and for ecstasy to be downgraded from class A, arguing that these were less harmful than other drugs. Nutt claimed scientific evidence was overruled for political reasons.

The new paper updates a study carried out by Nutt and others in 2007, which was also published by the Lancet and triggered debate for suggesting that legally available alcohol and tobacco were more dangerous than cannabis and LSD.

Alcohol, in that paper, ranked fifth most dangerous overall. The 2007 paper also called for an overhaul of the drug classification system, but critics disputed the criteria used to rank the drugs and the absence of differential weighting.

Today's study offers a more complex analysis that seeks to address the 2007 criticisms. It examines nine categories of harm that drugs can do to the individual "from death to damage to mental functioning and loss of relationships" and seven types of harm to others. The maximum possible harm score was 100 and the minimum zero.

Overall, alcohol scored 72 – against 55 for heroin and 54 for crack. The most dangerous drugs to their individual users were ranked as heroin, crack and then crystal meth. The most harmful to others were alcohol, heroin and crack in that order.

Nutt told the Guardian the drug classification system needed radical change. "The Misuse of Drugs Act is past its sell-by date and needs to be redone," he said. "We need to rethink how we deal with drugs in the light of these new findings."

For overall harm, the other drugs examined ranked as follows: crystal meth (33), cocaine (27), tobacco (26), amphetamine/speed (23), cannabis (20), GHB (18), benzodiazepines (15), ketamine (15), methadone (13), butane (10), qat (9), ecstasy (9), anabolic steroids (9), LSD (7), buprenorphine (6) and magic mushrooms (5).

The authors write: "Our findings lend support to previous work in the UK and the Netherlands, confirming that the present drug classification systems have little relation to the evidence of harm. They also accord with the conclusions of previous expert reports that aggressively targeting alcohol harm is a valid and necessary public health strategy."

Nutt told the Lancet a new classification system "would depend on what set of harms 'to self or others' you are trying to reduce". He added: "But if you take overall harm, then alcohol, heroin and crack are clearly more harmful than all others, so perhaps drugs with a score of 40 or more could be class A; 39 to 20 class B; 19-10 class C and 10 or under class D." This would result in tobacco being labelled a class B drug alongside cocaine. Cannabis would also just make class B, rather than class C. Ecstasy and LSD would end up in the lowest drug category, D.

He was not suggesting classification was unnecessary: "We do need a classification system – we do need to regulate the ones that are very harmful to individuals like heroin and crack cocaine." But he thought the UK could learn from the Portuguese and Dutch: "They have innovative policies which could reduce criminalisation." Representatives of both countries will be at a summit in London today, called drug science and drug policy: building a consensus, where the study will be presented.

UK reformers will be hoping the coalition government will take a more evidence-based approach to classification and tackling drugs than Labour did. The Liberal Democrats supported Nutt over his sacking, while Conservative leader David Cameron, who got into trouble at Eton, aged 15, for smoking cannabis, acknowledged the Misuse of Drugs Act was not working during his time as an MP on the Home Affairs select committee.

Nutt called for far more effort to be put into reducing harm caused by alcohol, pointing out that its economic costs, as well as the costs to society of addiction and broken families, are very high. Taxation on alcohol is "completely inappropriate", he said – with strong cider, for instance, taxed at a fifth of the rate of wine – and action should particularly target the low cost and promotion of alcohol such as Bacardi breezers to young people.

Don Shenker, the chief executive of Alcohol Concern, said : "What this study and new classification shows is that successive governments have mistakenly focused attention on illicit drugs, whereas the pervading harms from alcohol should have given a far higher priority. Drug misusers are still ten times more likely to receive support for their addiction than alcohol misusers, costing the taxpayer billions in repeat hospital admissions and alcohol related crime. Alcohol misuse has been exacerbated in recent years as government failed to accept the link between cheap prices, higher consumption and resultant harms to individuals and society."

"[The] government should now urgently ensure alcohol is made less affordable and invest in prevention and treatment services to deal with the rise in alcohol dependency that has occurred."

The Home Office said last night: "We have not read the report. This government has just completed an alcohol consultation and will publish a drugs strategy in the coming months."

A Department of Health spokesperson said: "In England, most people drink once a week or less. If you're a women and stick to two to three units a day or a man and drink up to three or four units, you are unlikely to damage your health. The government is determined to prevent alcohol abuse without disadvantaging those who drink sensibly."Two experts from the Amsterdam National Institute for Public Health and the Environment and the Amsterdam Institute for Addiction Research point out in a Lancet commentary the study does not look at multiple drug use, which can make some drugs much more dangerous – such as cocaine or cannabis together with alcohol – but they acknowledge the topic was outside its scope.

They add that because the pattern of recreational drug use changes, the study should be repeated every five or 10 years.

 

 

 

 

 


Summer Sky Treatment Center Houston Texas!

Summer Sky Treatment Center attended the 2010 Spectrum Conference hosted by the Houston Chapter of the Texas Association of Addiction Professionals. This years conference was The Thirty Seventh Annual Conference on Addiction Studies. It is a honor to help support such a great organization and be apart of addiction professionals serving those with substance use disorders across the State of Texas. Summer Sky recently opened up the new Detox Now Program. The Detox now program is created for those who do not want a 30 day stay in treatment, but desire to have detox take place. It is really geared to those who have had previous treatment or have a history of relapse. Please take a look at there website at http://www.summersky.us or call them at 1-888-857-8857.    


Brain Mechanism Linked To Relapse After Cocaine Withdrawal

Addictive drugs are known to induce changes in the brain's reward circuits that may underlie drug craving and relapse after long periods of abstinence. Now, new research, published by Cell Press in the September 9 issue of the journal Neuron, uncovers a specific neural mechanism that may be linked to persistent drug-seeking behavior and could help to guide strategies for development of new therapies for cocaine addiction.

Previous research has shown that the ventral tegmental area (VTA) is a brain region that is activated when cocaine users experience a craving for cocaine after being exposed to cocaine-associated cues. The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), which receives input from the VTA via circuits that use the "reward" neurotransmitter dopamine, has also been implicated in drug craving after cocaine withdrawal. Further, increases in the level of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) have been observed in the VTA and mPFC in rats after withdrawal from repeated cocaine exposure.

"BDNF plays a key role in modulating the structure and function of synapses, the sites of communication between neurons. Therefore, increased BDNF after cocaine withdrawal may drive synaptic changes that contribute to compulsive drug seeking behavior," explains senior author, Dr. Mu-ming Poo from the University of California, Berkeley. "It has been shown that increased BDNF in the VTA after cocaine withdrawal in rats promotes the drug-dependent motivational state. However, nothing is known about the potential BDNF effect on synaptic function and plasticity in mPFC neurons after cocaine withdrawal."

Dr. Poo and colleagues designed a study to examine how BDNF and the mPFC might contribute to relapse after cocaine addiction. The researchers found that the gradual increase in BDNF expression in the rat mPFC after terminating repeated cocaine exposure significantly enhanced the activity-induced potentiation of specific synapses. Dr. Poo's group went on to uncover the specific cellular mechanism linking increased BDNF with enhanced synaptic plasticity and demonstrated that interference with the key molecule in the BDNF signaling process reduced behavioral sensitivity after cocaine withdrawal in rats.

"In short, our results demonstrate that elevated BDNF expression after cocaine withdrawal sensitizes the excitatory synapses in the mPFC to undergo activity-induced persistent potentiation that may contribute to cue-induced drug cravings and drug-seeking behavior," concludes Dr. Poo. Although a clear correlation between rat and human behaviors of cocaine craving and relapse remains to be established, the cellular mechanism uncovered in this study does appear to have behavioral relevance and may represent a direct brain sensitization that is involved in triggering relapse.

The researchers include Hui Lu, Pei-lin Cheng, Byung Kook Lim, Nina Khoshnevisrad, and Mu-ming Poo, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA.

Source:
Cathleen Genova
Cell Press

via www.medicalnewstoday.com